Startup Culture: Is It Right For You?


Open work spaces, unlimited snacks, flexible work hours, bean bag chairs in the office--all in all, seems like a pretty cool place to work, doesn’t it? Work life at a startup is exciting, but it definitely comes with its own challenges, just like everything else in life. Every day brings something new, and the opportunities presented in a startup can take you very far.  

So how do you know if it’s right for you? Here’s the insider’s scoop from my personal experience to help you decide if it’s your best next move.

Flexibility is at the core of the startup I work for. This way, the quality of our work is not determined by how many hours we spend working or how many late nights we stay in the office. No one gives us "the look” when we leave at 5 p.m. People recognize that we have lives outside of work, and we are keen to preserve this balance.

While this is all well and good, sometimes too much flexibility can be overwhelming. How do you find the balance between work and play when there are no set rules? When you work at a startup, you have the freedom to get the work done your way, as opposed to having structure in a corporate setting. So if you like structure (like me), you'll have to create it for yourself.

Another thing to note is that startups have limited resources, so it’s highly likely that the engineer will work a marketing event and the office manager will weigh in on a finance meeting. Everyone truly works together to build something incredible, and in that way, we aren’t limited by our job titles and roles. We may use job titles for business cards, but in the office, we aren’t seen as such.

With the task variety, autonomy and collaboration that comes with working in a startup, I’m much more prepared for whatever is on my path next. After barely a year, I am informing key decisions that are impacting the company today and in the future, which is something that you can’t necessarily get in entry-level positions in corporate life.

My career can go in endless directions because I wear so many hats. When you’re new in your career and aren’t 100 percent sure on what you want to do, this is the best place to be! I am paving my future, and I’m able to do it my own way. I’m amazed at how much I’ve accomplished, from managing our budget, creating and running our internship program, and managing new business relationships, all in less than a year.

Another awesome part of startup life? I’m working alongside the CEO and COO, and they value each one of us despite being at the C-suite level. These people have poured their life’s savings into this company, and are ready to make their dreams become realities with enthusiasm and passion. This fosters such a positive culture, and all of us come into work with a “let’s do it” attitude.

Being around people who are passionate about their work makes every day worth it. Although I wasn’t sure if the startup life was for me, I wouldn’t have known unless I took the risk and opened myself up to a new experience. I can confidently say now that taking the risk has led to more growth and development, both personally and professionally, than I could have ever imagined. If you’re not sure if a startup is for you, give it a try! That’s what I did, and I’m so glad I took the step.